Hi, Finley here!
As the Executive Canine Quality Control Officer at Cascade Kennels, there’s one thing I know for sure: I love a good walk. Humans think I don’t know what “W-A-L-K” stands for, but I am one smart pup. It’s always a surprise to learn what other animals have been in the neighborhood. One time I smelled a family of raccoons!
However, I’ve talked with the other dogs, and we agree that one of the worst things about taking a walk are the leashes. We know we need leashes to keep us safe and so we don’t lose our humans, but we also know there are better ways of getting your attention than pulling at the leash – Or you pulling us!
Here are some tips to help both of us have more fun on our walk.
Why We Pull
Before you jump to conclusions, there are many reasons why we like to pull our leashes – and it’s not just because it’s too short!
- We pull because we have excess energy. When you come home for a walk with us after a long day, we get very excited and sometimes can’t contain the energy.
- We haven’t ever been trained properly about leash etiquette.
- We see a squirrel (or rabbit, or bird!) and need to protect you.
- Sometimes, we have anxieties or fears about specific environments and need to get away from a situation.
Watch our body language and see why we do what we do!
The Right Kind of Products
There are many kinds of products on the market today that help us walk correctly with a leash. There’s not a quick fix, though – we need to learn together on how to train both of us properly!
Products like front or rear clip harnesses often work as it is pulling us without us putting all of our weight into the pull. If you have a big dog with a lot of energy, sometimes it’s recommended to use a head halter if a dog is still training without putting pressure on our throats!
Let’s Get Leash-Ready
Even with appropriate gear, we may still want to pull, pull, pull. When you start your leash training exercise, make sure you have us on a 10-20-foot leash while taking us to a familiar outdoor area. Why the long leash? This is so we can build trust with you and start being by your side without needing to pull!
Do you have a side you want us to be on? Be sure always to reward us with treats when we are next to your correct side. Walking by your side = Treats. Doing this before feeding us will encourage us to try our best to get some delicious treats; otherwise, we’ll get lethargic. Did somebody say treats?
Verbal Commands and Patience
We get distracted pretty quickly, and sometimes we need to hear a clear message over and over again to get the picture. If you want us to keep moving, saying something like “Let’s go!” while patting your side, or “Touch!” if you want us to touch our noses against the palm of your hand and it will snap us out of our focus and on to you again.
However, a dog has gotta do what a dog has gotta do. Don’t forget that one of our greatest joys is to smell new smells, relieve ourselves, and explore the world around us. Let us have some time to explore our surroundings along with our power walk!
Practice Makes Perfect
Make this a routine, and we will pick it up. Learning a new habit is hard, but with enough training, we will understand exactly what needs to be done. After a while, replace the longer leash with a standard six-foot leash, and practice walking at various speeds back and forth to see if we follow suit.
If we’re still not getting it right away, stand as still as possible, and we will walk back to you. If we start lunging at a moving object, redirect our attention as quickly as possible with a command!
Need additional help? It’s my duty to inform you that Cascade Kennels offers a variety of training classes for you and your dog! Learn more here.
Until Next Time,
Executive Canine Quality Control Officer